Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Saturday 16th January

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We have decided to run this daily chat thread on Head for Points during the coronavirus outbreak.

Historically, the daily ‘Bits’ articles were the de facto repository for random comments and questions.  With the news flow being lighter, we are running fewer ‘Bits’ articles.

The comments under this article are where you should post questions about travel and, indeed, anything else on your mind.  At this tricky time, and given that many of you are at home, we want the HfP community to have a place to chat.

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Comments (166)

  • david says:

    Suggestions please ? Planning a multi carrier avios redemption in business (first is impossible availability-wise) 20,000 miles max – current itinerary MAN-HKG (cathay) HKG-DPS return (cathay) and HKG- MAN (Qatar via doha) 17500 miles 2500 short !

    • Alex says:

      I haven’t ever actually done this, out of curiosity how many avios and rough taxes would this be? I’d actually be interested in doing a similar route but maybe SIN instead of HKG.

      • david says:

        you need to look at the BA multi carrier table – its in bands – hence you need to be at the top of the band to get max value.

        • Louie says:

          20k miles in business would be 200,000 Avios p/p. Taxes etc will vary depending on route but the last two EU – Oz returns I have booked have been about £600 p/p.

    • ChrisC says:

      What is it you are asking?

      Suggestions on a 2.5k side trip to get you to 20k or something else?

    • pauldb says:

      Take the chance of a somewhere tough to reward to from the UK: somewhere like Cebu. Otherwise lots of choice in SE Asia that will add modest mileage – Thailand, Malaysia, into Vietnam and out of Cambodia. Check the season/weather.

    • the_real_a says:

      If you start from Europe (or even Jersey or Inverness) outside of the partner redemption you will avoid a big chunk of cash charges. Your positioning flight will also give you more miles to play with on the redemption.

      • Mikeact says:

        Definitely ex EU. And good luck trying to book…have pencil and paper to hand…have alternatives to hand, if seats have gone…and don’t waste miles. 2500 miles ex UK gives you a number of options for a later second holiday/break. We’ve done this twice now… will need a ton or two of patience and if of a nervous disposition, maybe rethink, or get somebody else to try and do it for you ! Do report back. ps If fobbed off by the first agent, hang up and try, try, try again.

    • Ming the Merciless says:

      throw an extra leg in further than any of the other legs and it shoudl reprice as economy. make sure its le last leg then you can drop it.

    • tom1 says:

      If you get to HKG, then Japan, Taiwan, South Korea all in short distance. I’ve been exploring the same… these are some segments with mileage from GCM

      GVA LHR 470
      LHR ICN 5520
      ICN HND 753
      HND KIX 269
      KIX TPE 1058
      TPE SGN 1370
      SGN SIN 675
      SIN LHR 6765
      LHR GVA 470

  • Leonid Klimov says:

    Quick question: if my partner has BA Premium Plus card, is there a way for her to refer me AMEX Marriott Bonvoy card? Amex seems to only offer her the option to refer to another BA Premium Plus card

    • Grant says:

      Yes – there is a white box underneath the blue ‘apply now’ box on the left hand side of the page which says ‘view our other cards’

      • Grant says:

        Sorry, that appears after you click the link she generates from her BAPP account.

    • Genghis says:

      Refer for BAPP then when you enter the referral link, select view other cards and apply for Bonvoy card.

  • Mco says:

    If someone has a dog and lives in a flat are they allowed to walk him when they are isolating after returning from abroad.

  • Igloo says:

    With the benefits and offers no longer adding up for me, I’m planning on cancelling my Amex Platinum card. I have a small balance in my MR account (around 50k)- is Avios/VS points generally the best place to send these to get decent value from them down the line? (I don’t want to get another MR card at the moment to start the two year clock running for another sign up bonus)

    Secondly, in terms of strategy going forward I’m planning to also cancel my free BA card and get the Bonvoy card (accepting that there will be no sign up bonus) and just have that for two years after which I can get a BAPP and Plat again with sign up bonuses.

    Just wanted a sense check that this works, and/or ideas for a better plan going forward.

    • memesweeper says:

      In terms of flexibility Marriott is probably better than plumping for just one airline. This is what I last did when I cleaned out my MR.

      In terms of absolute best value Rob thinks Raddisson points are the winner. This is what I will do next time most likely.

      • Genghis says:

        I top up accounts that need it to avoid any expiry (consider IB too if not earned in last 3 years) and then move to Marriott (hardest points for me to earn).

    • Igloo says:

      Interesting… I didn’t really think of hotel schemes! I tend to discount Radisson purely because I never seem to stay in them- but Marriott is a really interesting option!

  • Doommonger says:

    Things are not all sweetness and light between sage and the govt ( no surprise there) Reports are that Boris had a metaphorical gun held to his head re this lockdown as he was resisting.

    Similarly he is all optimism regarding easing lock down, mentioning spring (technically 21st March. Whitty et al are talking about well after Easter holidays,. Given the under 60’s are not likely to vaccinated until mid April earliest, we have an interesting scenario building. This group are the most economically active and will be the ones earning and spending us to recovery. Discuss.

    • babyg says:

      Its hard to discuss, the UK government seems to decide on things by using a magic 8-ball. Policies are implemented and then removed with little or no notice (xmas bubble, travel corridor etc etc).

      Personally i think English people should tune into the AMERICAS CUP that is currently been run in covid free New Zealand. Shows you an example of what a good government can achieve, and the Brits seem to have a great boat/team to support, that would be more fun to discuss IMHO.

      • Will says:

        All very well saying how well NZ have handled covid but if you are a NZ non-resident citizen just try to get back there. Simply NO availability in MIQ and despite paying for the quarantine hotel you still can’t get back. Only books 3 months out (but hasn’t been anything available in last 2 months of trying) and the one day we managed to secure prior to that saw our flight cancelled and no alternatives offered by the airline. Nz (and Oz) simply need to add more capacity. Why wouldn’t they? As developed countries I am sure they have the ability to do so.

    • Anna says:

      Some reports saying that over 50s could be vaccinated in March if they keep at the current rate. In our one our boroughs this week a task force went out and vaccinated every care home resident in one day.
      I suspect it will all hinge on how well the NHS is coping, which will obviously depend on admission rates. If this seems to be under control by March I think there will be huge pressure to open up the economy.
      Processes need tightening up such as allowing left over vaccine doses to be given to other groups instead of being thrown away as is also being reported today! This apparently is one of the reasons for Israel’s success.

      • Tracey says:

        At the centre where I have been helping, every vaccine is used. Local GP surgeries are notified as soon as one of their patients fail to keep their appointment, so they can immediately allocate to the next on the list. Vaccines are only prepped when required so left overs are kept to an absolute minimum. If there are one or two over at the end of the day they are allocated to those helping on a strict criteria.

      • Ken says:

        They are trying not to be too boastful about it, but vaccinatons going very well at the moment.
        They will make the first target to vaccinate the first 4 groups by 15th Feb with time to spare and everyone over 50 will be done by end of March.
        The target for vaccinations for next week is more than 1/2 a million a day which is an extraordinary effort within a few weeks of starting.
        The problem comes a little later on as vaccine supplies get diminished and most over 50’s get their 2nd jab.
        The vaccine supply will remain the limiting factor.

        Will pose a problem with marauding pensioners desperate to get out, spend and holiday while the rest of the population wait for their jab.

      • ChrisC says:

        I was reading in the Washington Post last week how a pharmacist had a couple of doses left and offered them to a couple that were just shopping rather than let them go to waste.

        There were comments from people saying that they should have let them go to waste rather than use it out of the cohort sequences!

      • Ken says:

        “being thrown away as is also being reported today….”

        Sensationalist nonsense from the Daily Mail.
        All GP’s have been told to vaccinate the next group down if they have left over stocks (and GP’s getting almost all the easier to store Oxford vaccine.

        What they have unequivocally been told is to give the 2nd dose after 12 weeks.
        GP’s (with some justification) think the evidence for this is poor to say the least and think they should be sticking to the original protocol.
        GP’s don’t like being told what to do but in this case they should just jab and not jabber.

        • Craig says:

          My wife’s practice had some left, phoned the local fire and ambulance station because it’s round the corner. The staff stayed 2 hours later making sure it was all used.

          • Sandra says:

            Since there is uncertainty over how long protection lasts with just the one dose of the vaccine and until the vast majority of the population have had their vaccine, levels of protection will not be high enough for quite a long time to ensure that infection is controlled and starts to reduce significantly. News today is also reporting some delays with vaccine production so I wouldn’t be too sure all will continue to go smoothly. Personally I think it will be late 2021 at the earliest before we are anywhere near seeing the infection properly under control. Maybe I’m a pessimist and I hope I’m wrong!

          • kitten says:

            think you’re about right Sandra for the majority of the population

            It will be absolutely terrible if they discover unwanted side effects after people have been vaccinated now

        • Anna says:

          It can’t be sensationalist nonsense if it’s coming from actual GPs. Also what you’re quoting isn’t even about vaccines being thrown away, it’s about delivering the 2nd jab …

          • Callum says:

            What GP has made these claims? I’ve only seen articles written by journalists relaying their interpretation of what unnamed GPs are supposedly saying.

            Though GPs, like anyone, absolutely can spout sensationalist nonsense (I’m not saying they necessarily are in this case – just that they’re not beyond question).

            Other articles on the same topic I’ve seen have said they were told not to give the leftovers as second doses to people who have already had them – which makes perfect sense to me. If they had prepared properly then they would have a list of people on “standby” who could come in at short notice for any leftovers. It’s what my hospital is doing.

    • The real John says:

      SAGE’s job is to advise on health. There should be economists who can advise on the economy. Boris’ job is to find a balance and lead. Instead of being the fulcrum he bounces up and down like a child on a see-saw.

      I don’t know if he thinks he is doing a great job or if he desperately wishes he had never put himself forward in 2019. I would have more respect for him if he could admit that the government reacted too slowly from the start and should have imposed more restrictions sooner or more consistently, or even if he decisively said that he has taken the advice of SAGE and economists and that the hidden effects of restrictions are more harmful than the direct effects.

  • Leonid Klimov says:

    Thanks for the answers above re AMEX referrals. Another quick question if I may: I am doing Marriott status match and have to achieve 15 nights before 4th Feb, which got a lot more difficult with lockdown… Does anyone know whether applying for AMEX Bonvoy Card (which comes with 15 nights credits) a) is acceptable for status match (or do they need real nights?) b) if yes, do those 15 nights post quickly?

    • Adam says:

      Leonid, I had status match with Marriott 4 years ago. At that time the terms and conditions sent to me specifically stated that those should be paid nights (even points reservations were not allowed). Unless something has changed over the years I assume this will also apply now. b) people here reported that they got their in 2-3 days after they received the card, but some had to wait for more than a month.

    • Ken says:

      It’s paid nights.

      Points redemptions don’t count & neither do bonus night from cards.

  • andrew says:

    Sore arm this afternoon.

    A small step towards normality.

  • Gavin says:

    Anyone know if BA is still flying the A380 and is there an up to date list of routes?

    • Stuart Evans says:

      I have a couple questions of Avios F reservations in late June\Jul to and from LAX and SFO in A380s. I’m keeping my fingers crossed

    • Andrew says:

      BA aren’t flying the A380 again yet, but they don’t plan to retire them so they will come back in due course, once demands warrants them.

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